America Chavez has been living in the Marvel world for a while, but until now she’s never had the chance to move out on her own. Chavez’s introduction came in the 2011 run of “Vengeance,” where she took over the role of Miss America. In 2013, she joined the “Young Avengers,” then moved on to a few other factions, where she developed a nice following with fans. Now America Chavez is ready to star in her own adventure, written by “Quirky Rican” herself, Gabby Rivera, creator of “Juliet Takes A Breath” – one of the finest books to come out of the LGBTQ community this year. Refinery29 recently sat down with Rivera to discuss the future of America Chavez, as well as other things. Here’s a quick look at how it went down.
How excited was Rivera to hear from Marvel?
Needless to say, she was very excited.
“I got an email from Marvel when I was at work. And I was like, whaaat? What?! And the office is all quiet, everyone’s just like click-clacking away and I just left and I called my mom and I was like “Mom!! I got an email from Marvel!” My voice went up 48 octaves.”
Though Gabby wasn’t familiar with America Chavez at first, she quickly immersed herself into the Latina superhero’s world.
Rivera explained her lack of familiarity with America, saying:
“I have to be honest and say, I thought, maybe there wasn’t space for me in comics.” Rivera talked to Chavez’s creators as well as fans, to get an idea of the characters.
Rivera described the process, “I was able to get an idea of what fans of America would want, her stellar moments and where there was excitement around her character. And I was able to pull those thoughts into a first outline.”
How does Rivera see her version of America Chavez?
Rivera explained that “America doesn’t know how powerful she is, but she’s gonna find out. And the powers she does have are going to be expanded upon and she’s going to learn how to control and develop them.”
But she’s not just a kickass Latina superhero, Rivera wanted get inside the mind of Chavez, to figure out what motivates her.
“So my thinking for this new book is that she’s finally asking herself that question: What’s in it for me? Why am I fighting with these people?”
To answer this question, Rivera looked at herself and asked what was important her her.
“What I want is to go to college and I want to start over, and I want to learn about myself and do this for myself. And so that is the big thing that I was thinking about. What’s more American than trying to go to college and trying to find yourself?” Of course, nothing is easy for a superhero.
Marvel tapped Rivera because of her book “Juliet Takes A Breath,” which has received glowing reviews in and out of the LGBTQ community.
— gabby rivera (@QuirkyRican) February 3, 2016
CREDIT: QUIRKYRICAN / TWITTER
To tell America Chavez’s story, Marvel knew they would need someone who could tap into the queer female experience, while also giving life to the character. Rivera’s “Juliet Takes A Breath” is exactly that, described by reviewers as, “transformative,” “the voice we so desperately need in genre fiction,” and a “vital part of the intersectional LGBTQ literary movement.” Rivera makes no excuses or apologies when writing, putting the story ahead of everything else.
Of course, Rivera’s sexual identity plays an important role in the stories she tells, but that’s what makes her even more perfect for America Chavez.
— MEGASHEEN (@TheMEGASHEEN) November 18, 2016
CREDIT: THEMEGASHEEN / TWITTER
Rivera explains, “I love women. I love myself. I feel like sometimes I’m not considered a woman. People assume I’m a masculine kind of person because I wear hats or boots. And to me, womanhood is so flexible and so ever-expanding and how beautiful is it to show all the ways that it manifests.”